Yes, people from Virginia can visit Cuba legally!
Cuba travel opportunities for Americans have greatly expanded over the last several years. Nearly every American (citizen or resident) can visit Cuba without applying for an OFAC license. You plan your Cuba trip and hop on an airplane. It’s really that easy.
All the travel options enacted by Obama remain the same under President Trump. There are no new restrictions on Cuba travel nor are there likely to be in the future. However the best time to visit Cuba is now before it gets Starbucked.
This website provides a summary for how to visit Cuba legally.
You can go to Cuba legally without a license or paperwork as long as your purpose of travel fits into one of these US government approved categories:
- Educational activities in Cuba for schools, including people-to-people exchanges open to everyone
- Professional research and professional meetings in Cuba
- Public performances, clinics, workshops, athletic and other competitions, and exhibitions in Cuba
- Religious activities in Cuba
- Humanitarian projects in Cuba
- Journalistic activities in Cuba
- Family visits to close relatives in Cuba
- Activities in Cuba by private foundations, or research or educational institutes
- Support for the Cuban people
- Exportation, importation, or transmission of information technologies or materials
- Certain authorized export transactions including agricultural and medical products, and tools, equipment and construction supplies for private use
- Official business of the US government, foreign governments, and certain intergovernmental organizations
US visitors are required to engage in a full time itinerary of activities related to the above categories of travel.
If your travel falls within one of these categories you are automatically authorized to visit Cuba legally without having to apply for a license. There is no paperwork or applications involved. You just purchase an air ticket, plan accommodations and activities (or better yet a tour package), and go.
Once you decide on your category of travel, you simply indicate your choice on a check-box when purchasing your airplane ticket.
Family members can accompany any American who qualifies for any of these twelve categories (even if the family member doesn’t qualify). A family member is defined as any individual related to a person by blood, marriage, live-in or adoption who is no more than three generations removed.
Purely touristic travel such as tanning and relaxation stays at an all-inclusive beach resort is prohibited. Likewise, lounging around all day in an Airbnb.com rental and drinking mojitos all night in Havana, is forbidden. Rule: Full time engagement within the context of the travel category you choose.
American residents and citizens require a valid passport from any country, a Cuban Tourist Visa and mandatory Cuban emergency medical insurance to enter Cuba. Cuban emergency medical insurance is generally included in the cost of commercial airline flights. Confirm with your airline.
Cuban Tourist Visas, with some exceptions, must be purchased separately and are not included in the cost of your commercial flight ticket. Click here to purchase a Cuban Tourist Visa.
Plan Cuba spending money carefully. US credit and debit cards don’t work in Cuba! Don’t get stuck without funds. See Money matters in Cuba to prepare for Cuba’s unique monetary system.
There is no limit on the amount of money you can spend in Cuba nor is there a limit on the value or quantity of items – including alcohol and tobacco products – you can bring home for personal use. However excess cigars and alcohol may be subject to US duties.
If you have further questions about US government rules for legal Cuba travel you must call OFAC directly at 1-800-540-6322 or visit the OFAC website.